COVID-19 NEWS BULLETIN 19/05/2020
Daily Press Briefing This afternoon’s daily briefing was led by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
In the 24 hours up until Monday morning, 100,678 tests were carried out or dispatched, so slightly above the 100,000 a day testing target. Mr Rabb said this afternoon that although these have been hugely challenging times for all, he thanked those for responding to the adjustments made to lockdown measures last week, stating that the UK’s priority is still to save lives and preserve livelihoods. Adding that there were inevitably some risks in easing the restrictions on travel and movement but commented that the previous eight weeks
lockdown was not permanently sustainable on health and economic grounds.
A question from the public today asked if the NHS is now prepared for a possible second wave of the virus later in the year. Mr Raab replied saying that ministers will not sanction measures to ease lockdown which risk a second rise in infections. Professor Jonathan Van- Tam added that the UK may have to learn to live with the virus for months if not for several years and commented that there may be an element of seasonality to the virus meaning it may be sensible to prepare for a rise in infections during the autumn.
On the subject of children returning to school, a topic much discussed at present, Professor Van-Tam was asked what the impact of reopening schools might have on infection rates. The question was answered by saying that scientists would not advise a return to schools if such a move would increase the infection rate. Going on to say that data so far suggests that the rate of infection in children is about the same as with adults, adding that evidence shows infected children experience an extremely mild disease. On whether children can spread the disease to adults, the evidence so far is sparse.
There was also a question asking if easing of lockdown rules in England has undermined the fight against the virus in North Wales. Mr Raab responded saying that there have been good collaboration between UK nations although measures may be relaxed at different speeds. One of the final comments of the day was that the government wants an international review of the pandemic and such review should include how the virus originated.
C19 Update from the last few days
Last week saw the government loosen lockdown restrictions for those who cannot work from home. With it came guidance to employers outlining practical steps for business that do open regarding social distancing measures, risk assessments and cleaning processes. It is believed shops may be in a position to begin a phased reopening from 1 June. And last week also saw the Chancellor extend the furlough scheme until October.
In recent news, the WHO’s decision-making body is meeting as members call for an investigation into the handling of the pandemic. China’s President Xi defends his country’s response and says a review can happen once the virus is under control.
More European countries are easing lockdown restrictions on Monday, with bars and restaurants reopening in Italy.
New Bulletin – 18th May 2020
Covid-19 testing has been limited to key workers, hospital patients, care home residents, the over-65s and those who need to leave home for work. However, this afternoon Matt Hancock has told MPs that everyone over the age of five and living in the UK with symptoms of coronavirus will soon be eligible to be tested.
There have been more than two million claims for the UK’s self-employed grant scheme. Rishi Sunak this afternoon stated that claim values for the scheme stood at £6bn at yesterdays’ count. The scheme has now been open for one week.
Tens of thousands of workers in the US are returning to work today as the US reopens its car industry. The car industry in the US accounts for around 6% of the economy. Here in the UK, Ford and Vauxhall have started reopening their car manufacturing plants but with additional safety measures in place.
We included the following link in last week’s bulletin so that you can begin planning in preparation for reopening, pending specific instructions from regulators.
Making sure that your workplace is COVID secure
All employers must undertake a "COVID-SAFE" risk assessment of their working premises. The government has issued guidance document entitled, Working safely during corona Virus (COVID-19)" which can be accessed by clicking this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19 as employees
Template risk assessment forms are available via this site.
Employers have a duty to protect the health and safety of their employees. This duty will be particularly important as employees start to return to work while COVID-19 remains in circulation.
I was interested to come across the following link over the weekend, courtesy of MoneySavingExpert. For a positive change during these difficult times, why not try something new with any available time? Or perhaps this may lead to a few tricks to keep the kids entertained outside of home schooling. Especially, if these tips can be accessed for free! https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/deals-hunter/2020/03/free-ways-to-learnnew-
I also wanted to share with you the following link to NHS deals which can be accessed. The list gives a round up of all the current offers and discounts for NHS staff and is regularly updated and may well be worth a look.
NHS staff and care workers freebies & discounts
New Bulletin – 18th May 2020
Daily update on the UK market
(data captured just ahead of close this afternoon)
Summary of possible influences on the markets today
The FTSE opened strong this morning as market optimism returns and continued to grow throughout the course of the day.
Italy has begun accelerating its lockdown easing, in what the Government is calling “a calculated risk”.
Spain has extended its lockdown period.
Taiwanese semiconductor producer TSMC has halted all further orders from Huawei, in order to comply with new American export restrictions. The US now requires companies to apply for a licence to ship technology developed in the US to Huawei.
Latest figures make it clear that China is not likely to hold up its end of the Phase
1 trade deal with the United States, particularly in volumes of purchased agricultural products. However, with the US battling COVID-19 and the upcoming November election, Trump is unlikely to flare up tensions, in order to avoid unnecessary strain on the economy. The Trade Wars are likely to reignite however if Trump begins to slip in the polls and feels he must rally his base before the
election. This tense truce is unlikely to survive past the November election however.
Japan enters first recession since 2015 with 0.9% GDP drop in the first quarter.
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